A former U.S. Army Green Beret was arrested and charged Friday with conspiring with Russian intelligence operatives to provide them with U.S. military defense information.
Peter Rafael Dzibinski Debbins, 45, allegedly conspired with Russia's foreign intelligence arm, the GRU, from December 1996 to January 2011, the Justice Department announced in a statement.
"During that time, Debbins periodically visited Russia and met with Russian intelligence agents. In 1997, Debbins was assigned a code name by Russian intelligence agents and signed a statement attesting that he wanted to serve Russia," the DOJ said.
At the conclusion of his service duties in 2008, Debbins allegedly provided Russian intelligence agents classified information pertaining to his activities as a Special Forces member.
Debbins was indicted for conspiracy to gather or deliver defense information to aid a foreign government and could face life in prison if convicted.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said Debbins took the "country's trust" and "weaponized it against the United States."
"Debbins violated his oath as a U.S. Army officer, betrayed the Special Forces and endangered our country's national security by revealing classified information to Russian intelligence officers, providing details of his unit, and identifying Special Forces team members for Russian intelligence to try to recruit as a spy," Demers said.
? Earlier this week, the DOJ announced the arrest of former CIA agent Alexander Yuk Ching Ma on charges of spying for China.